When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of North Carolina.
But where exactly in North Carolina? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in North Carolina that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Newton don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Tar Heel State to retire for 2018:
- Newton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Tarboro (Homes For Sale)
- Lenoir (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Albemarle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Rocky Mount (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Eden (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Belmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Shelby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Southern Pines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kings Mountain (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Tar Heel State
To create our list of the best places in North Carolina to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Tar Heel State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 57 places from across the state.
For these 57, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 57, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Newton, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 11,206Median Rent: $670
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,828
More on Tarboro: Homes For Sale | Data
Created in 1760, Tarboro is the ninth-oldest incorporated town in North Carolina. Situated on the Tar River at the fall line in the Piedmont, the town served the area as an important colonial river port. It was a thriving trade center until the Civil War.
Population: 17,956Median Rent: $585
Distance to Closest Airport: 57 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,006
More on Lenoir: Homes For Sale | Data
The city was named for Revolutionary War general and early North Carolina statesman William Lenoir, who settled north of present-day Lenoir. His restored home, Fort Defiance, is a tourist attraction.
Population: 15,968Median Rent: $623
Distance to Closest Airport: 43 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,498
More on Albemarle: Homes For Sale | Data
This place-name is derived of the English noble surname Albemarle, which is the French version of the medieval latinization Albamarla of the town Aumale in Normandy, France. From Vulgar Latin alba, ‘white’ and margila, ‘marlstone’. The word root can be explained entirely with two Celtic words: alba, ‘white’, later ‘heaven’ (Cf. Albion), the Latin word alba would be a Deckname for it and margila, which derives of the Celtic marga. The Latin expression albamargila would be an exact loan translation of the Celtic one, glisomarga, ‘white marl’.
5. Rocky Mount
Population: 56,175Median Rent: $715
Distance to Closest Airport: 55 miles
Crime Per 100k: 774
More on Rocky Mount: Homes For Sale | Data
Rocky Mount had its beginning in the early part of the 19th century around the first post office which was established at the falls of the Tar River on March 22, 1816. At that point, the name ‘Rocky Mount’ appeared in documented history. The name undoubtedly derived from the rocky mound at the falls of the Tar River, which was also the site of one of the first cotton mills in North Carolina: Rocky Mount Mills was established in 1818. The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was built about two miles (3 km) east of the mill in 1845 and became the main connection for Rocky Mount to the outside world.
Population: 15,434Median Rent: $632
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,198
More on Eden: Homes For Sale | Data
By the mid-eighteenth century, the territory of present-day Eden was within a 70,000-acre (280 km2) estate owned by William Byrd II, a planter of Virginia and North Carolina. He originally called his estate ‘The Land of Eden’.
Population: 10,494Median Rent: $749
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,222
More on Belmont: Homes For Sale | Data
Settlement in the Belmont area began around the colonial-era Fort at the Point, built in the 1750s by Dutch settler James Kuykendall and others near the junction of the South Fork and the Catawba River. The fort was built because of ongoing hostilities with the Cherokee, but it was apparently never attacked.
Population: 20,259Median Rent: $689
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,200
More on Shelby: Homes For Sale | Data
The Banker’s House, Joshua Beam House, Central Shelby Historic District, Cleveland County Courthouse, East Marion-Belvedere Park Historic District, James Heyward Hull House, Masonic Temple Building, Dr. Victor McBrayer House, George Sperling House and Outbuildings, Joseph Suttle House, Webbley, and West Warren Street Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
9. Southern Pines
Population: 13,258Median Rent: $772
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,235
More on Southern Pines: Homes For Sale | Data
The James Boyd House, Shaw House, Southern Pines Historic District, Firleigh Farms, and Moore County Hunt Lands and Mile-Away Farms are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
10. Kings Mountain
Population: 11,053Median Rent: $751
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,831
More on Kings Mountain: Homes For Sale | Data
Originally the settlement was called White Plains, but when the city was incorporated in 1874, the name was changed. It was decided that ‘Kings Mountain’ would be a more appropriate name since the community was close to the historic 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain in York County, South Carolina, a turning point in the American Revolutionary War.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in North Carolina goes to Newton.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
- Hope Mills
For more North Carolina reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In North Carolina For 2018
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina
- 10 Worst Places To Live In North Carolina
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In North Carolina